|The Grand Staircase|
The Palace of Caserta was constructed for the Bourbon kings of Naples in the late 18th century. Its design drew inspiration from Versailles (indeed some people call it the Italian Versailles) in its grandeur and function, as it was meant to house the king and his court. According to Wikipedia, the Palace has about 1,200, a library, and a theater, as well as massive gardens. Just like Versailles, an aqueduct was needed for all the fountains in the gardens and, also like Versailles, Caserta was meant to display the grand and excessive wealth of the monarchy (which it certainly achieves).
|One of my favorite rooms, the theater. (Plus this picture's colors are fantastic!)|
The Palace of Caserta has also been used in quite a few well-known movies: it was used as Vatican City in Mission: Impossible III and Angels & Demons. It was also used in the Star Wars series as Queen Amidala's castle in The Phantom Menace and later as Queen Jamilla's palace in Attack of the Clones.
|The 3D effects on this ceiling were amazing.|
|The Throne Room's ceiling|
|There was an entire room just for the Nativity set (keep in mind that we are pretty close to Naples, the makers of nativity scenes.|
|Way in the back you can see the shadow of the Palace, unfortunately it wasn't a completely clear day when we went.|
While you can walk the gardens if you want to, there're also buses that take you fro the Palace to the fountains and back.
|The Fountain of Diana & Actaeon|
To get to Caserta you can either drive from Rome (about an hour and a half or two) or from Naples or the Amalfi Coast if that is your base for your vacation. You can also take the train and the station is supposedly five minutes away from the Palace. The Palace of Caserta is open every day except Tuesdays and the major holidays, from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm. Ticket prices are 14EUR and include the palace and the park. However, keep in mind that the English Garden can only be entered in a guided tour at certain hours. For more information, visit the website here.